FMVSS 131 & FMVSS 217 School Bus Reflective Tape Marking Requirements Regulations

School Bus Reflective Tape Specifications – (

School Bus Reflective Tape Regulations:

Virtually every state has regulations regarding the marking of school buses.  The main goal of these regulations is to clearly mark with reflective tape the emergency exits of the bus.  This way, if a bus is in an accident, emergency workers can easily identify the exits.

Although each state differs the general regulation is as follows.

Each opening for a required emergency exit shall be outlined around its outside perimeter with a retroreflective tape with a minimum width of 2.5 centimeters and either red, white, or yellow in color, that when tested under the conditions specified in S6.1 of Standard No. 131 (49 CFR 571.131), meets the criteria specified.

  • 1″ strip used to mark side emergency exit windows
  • 1″ strip used to mark back emergency exit windows

These are minimum tape width requirements.

Here is an excerpt from the Connecticut regulations.

Any school bus may have reflectorized tape, otherwise known as retroreflective
sheeting, applied to the sides and rear, if such tape complies with and is
installed in accordance with the following requirements:
1. Approved reflective tape or sheeting shall reflect a yellow color with a reflectivity
meeting the requirements of 49 CFR 571.131 Table 1 and shall have a daytime
color of National School Bus Yellow. Approved reflective tape shall be no less
than three quarters (3/4) inch nor more than two (2) inches in width.
2. The rear of the bus body may have the perimeter outlined with strips of approved
reflective tape. The perimeter shall be considered as strips applied horizontally above
the rear windows and above the rear bumper, extending from the rear emergency
exit perimeter marking (if present), outward to the left and right rear corners of the
bus; and vertical strips applied at the corners connecting the horizontal strips.
3. All emergency exits should be marked and outlined with reflective tape as
prescribed per FMVSS 217.
4. The sides of the bus body may be marked with approved reflective tape
extending horizontally the length of the bus body and located vertically between the floor-line and the belt-line.

(Adopted effective May 2, 2007)

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